WITS grades 7-9

Andria Hill-Lehr

Andria Hill-Lehr is a freelance writer and author of two non-fiction books: Mona Parsons: From Privilege to Prison, from Nova Scotia to Nazi Europe (Nimbus Publishing 2017) and A Mother’s Road to Kandahar (Pottersfield 2008). She is an entertaining public speaker who enjoys storytelling.

Martine Jacquot

Martine Jacquot is a prolific writer who writes in French but can make presentations in either French or English. She has published 30 books so far (novels, poetry, short-stories, essays and novels for young readers).

She has been invited to many literary events across Canada and abroad, namely to Lafayette’s book festival during the 2nd World Acadian Congress in 1999, to Tunisia to attend a panel of women writers in 2000, the International Poetry Festival in Trois-Rivières, the Northrop Frye International Literary Festival and to the Paris Book Fair in 2004 and 2006.

She did several reading tours: Tunisia in 2000, Russia and Cameroon in 2008, Morocco in 2010, Roumania in 2011, India in 2012.

She holds several degrees: BA from La Sorbonne, Paris, 3 MA degrees from La Sorbonne, Acadia and Dalhousie, a BJ from the University of Kings College and a PHD from Dalhousie University. She has studied and lived in France, England, Switzerland and Canada.

Past Vice President of the Association des Écrivains Acadiens, past president of the Conseil Culturel Acadien de la Nouvelle-Écosse, she has been on many editorial committees, member of several juries, has received creation grants and travel grants both from the Canada Council for the arts and the NS Arts Council. Her novel Les oiseaux de nuit finissent aussi par s’endormir was short listed for the Antonine-Maillet-Acadie Vie award. She was thrice finalist for the Éloizes awards, once as a writer, and twice as a cultural journalist. She was shortlisted for the France-Acadie Award three times for Au Gré du Vent (2006), Le jardin d’herbes aromatiques (2006) and Le silence de la neige (2008). She won the Award Prix Européen de l’ADELF with a special mention 2007 for Au gré du vent. She has also been chosen on 2 occasions to advise beginning authors, once by the Talent Trust of NS, once by the Association des auteurs de l’Ontario. Some of her poems and short stories have been broadcast on SRC. One of her stories was staged in Ottawa at the Théâtre Trillium. She was a member of the Board of Governors of the NS Museum for 12 years and an author in residence with the ArtsInfusion program and Fecane program

Her articles and interviews have appeared in LittéRéalité, Ancrage, Arcade, Alpha Arts magazine, Eloizes, Femmes d’Action, The Fiddlehead, Liason, Studies in Canadian Literature, Vent’d’est, Waves, Ashtarowt and Al Quds, among others. Her poems and short stories have appeared in Concerto pour huit voix, La Diversité: 15 nouvelles francophones á travers le monde, Ecphore Anthology 1987, Eloizes, Les Elytres du Hanneton, Herspectives, Liaison, Lieux d’être, Littéréalité, Les Maritimes, Mensuel, 25 Offerta Speziale, Poetry Halifax-Dartmouth, The Pottersfield Portfolio, Reflets Maritimes 2, Voices and Echoes: Stories and Poems of Women’s Spirituality, Walk through Paradise, La Poésie acadienne and Pour l’Amour de toi, among others. Some of her work is being translated into English, Russian, Portugese, Italian, Basque and Arabic.

Monica Graham

Monica Graham is the author of several non-fiction books. Her newest, Senior Moment (Nimbus), an almost-humorous account of finding residential care for her aging mother, will come out in the spring of 2021.  In the Spirit, Reflections on Everyday Grace, is a collection of some of the best columns she wrote over eight years for the Chronicle Herald religion page. Cradle of Knowledge: Pictou Academy 1816-2016 tells the history of the 200-year-old school.  A columnist as well as a freelance journalist and photographer, Monica has had her work published by the Halifax Chronicle Herald, Rural Delivery, Atlantic Business Magazine, The Pictou Advocate, Canadian Living, Trident, The Atlantic Fisherman, and other publications. She is a member of the Writers in the Schools program, and also presents writing and storytelling workshops for adults and literacy groups. Monica served as writer-in-residence at Pictou Antigonish Regional Library in 2011-12; and at Berton House in Dawson City, YT, in 2008. She lives in the woods in Pictou County, NS, with her husband, a dog, and visiting bears, deer and people. between She is working on an historical novel and a collection of short stories.

Sylvia Gunnery

Sylvia Gunnery first took herself seriously as a writer when she attended the five-week Banff Centre writing session in 1976 under the instruction of W.O. Mitchell, Alice Munro, and others. Since then she has published over 25 books for teens and children as well as professional resources for teachers of writing. A recipient of a Prime Minister’s Teaching Award, she has presented at conferences, libraries, and schools across Canada.  In 2016, she was honoured with a WFNS Legacy Membership.  She currently serves on the editorial board for Write, the professional magazine of the Writers’ Union of Canada.  Road Signs That Say West, her latest YA novel, was published by Pajama Press in 2017. Sylvia lives at Crescent Beach, on the South Shore of Nova Scotia where she’s working on anoher YA novel, what I know about next.

Lesley Choyce

Lesley teaches part-time at Dalhousie University, runs Pottersfield Press and has published over 86 books for adults and kids. His Young Adult novels concern things like skateboarding, surfing, racism, environmental issues, organ transplants, and rock bands. Lesley surfs year round in the North Atlantic and is considered the father of transcendental wood-splitting. He’s worked as a rehab counsellor, a freight hauler, a corn farmer, a janitor, a journalist, a lead guitarist, a newspaper boy and a well-digger. He lives at Lawrencetown Beach overlooking the ocean. He also hosts a nationally syndicated TV talk show on Vision TV. His recent novel, Cold Clear Morning, is currently being developed as a feature length movie. In 2002, Goose Lane Editions published Choyce’s best-selling circumferential history book, The Coasts of Canada. That same year, his animal epic film, The Skunk Whisperer, was broadcast across Canada and heralded at the Maine International Film Festival. Along with the Surf Poets, he has released two poetry/music albums, Long Lost Planet and Sea Level.

To read excerpts from Lesley’s books and download free samples of his music, visit www.lesleychoyce.com.

Jan L. Coates

Jan Coates lives in Wolfville, NS with her husband and their Golden Irish, Charlie. She has two married children (sadly in Ontario) and loves visiting schools through the Writers in the Schools (WITS) program. Jan’s interest in writing for children grew out of her own love of words and stories and a passion for helping kids become lifelong readers and writers.

In her free time, Jan can be found on the badminton court, travelling, at the gym, the cottage, or Frenchy’s. Her first picture book, Rainbows in the Dark (Second Story Press, 2005) has been translated into Spanish, Catalan, and Braille, with Korean and Brazilian rights also sold. She has also written eighteen ESL illustrated chapter books for Caramel Tree, a Korean-based English Language School, and two non-fiction workbooks for Quebec ESL students.

Her debut novel, A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk (Red Deer Press, 2010), was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award (Children’s Text) in 2011, as well as an Ann Connor Brimer Award finalist. She has also written five middle grade novels; The Hermit (Nimbus, 2020); Say What You Mean (Nevermore, 2019); Talking to the Moon (Red Deer, 2018),The Power of Harmony (Red Deer, 2013), also a Brimer finalist, and Rocket Man, a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers  (Red Deer, 2014). Jan’s picture books include: Dancing with Daisy (Running the Goat, 2019); Karissa & Felix (self-published, as both author and illustrator, 2019);  A Halifax Time-Travelling Tune (Nimbus, 2018), Sky Pig (Pajama Press, 2016), The King of Keji (Nimbus, 2015), and Rainbows in the Dark (Second Story Press, 2005). Her current passion (other than learning to illustrate and creating soul smiles, her greeting cards) is writing a work of creative non-fiction for young readers about Canadian landscape painter (and all-around interesting person) Doris McCarthy (1910 – 2010).

Don Aker

BIOGRAPHY

A fomer high school teacher, literacy mentor, and university instructor, Don Aker fell into writing in 1988 after attending the Martha’s Vineyard Summer Writing Workshops, where instructors encouraged participants to write with their students. Encouraged by winning the short fiction and nonfiction categories of the 1989 and 1990 WFNS Atlantic Writing Competitions as well as Canadian Living’s 1990 National Literary Competition, Don went on to publish numerous stories and articles and has written more than 20 books.

Because he taught hundreds of teenagers during his teaching career, it isn’t surprising that young adults are the focus of most of his work. What subjects does he choose to write about? “Things that bother me, that don’t go away,” he says. For example, Don wrote his first novel after a student shared with him that she was being physically abused by her father. Of Things Not Seen tells the story of sixteen-year-old Ben Corbett, who, along with his mother, is physically abused by his domineering stepfather. Besides domestic violence, Don’s novels have focused on peer pressure, bullying, youth crime, suicide, sexuality, teen gambling, and a variety of other social issues. However, he is quick to point out that the strongest stories are never about issues or events–“They’re about how characters are affected by those issues and events.”

Don holds a Master of Education from Acadia University and, besides working as an educator and writer, he has been a freelance reviewer and consultant for various educational publishers, including Nelson Education, Pembroke Publishers, and Pearson Education. He has written several books for classroom use, among them Hitting the Mark: Assessment Tools for Teachers (Pembroke, 1995) and a series of language arts texts for grades 8 to 11 (Nelson Education), and he has had articles and fiction published in The International Journal of Reading, Quill & Quire, Books in Canada, Canadian Living, The Toronto Star, Our Family Magazine, The Pottersfield Portfolio, Dandelion Magazine, The Chronicle Herald, and various anthologies.

The father of two daughters, Don lives with his wife in Bedford.

David Huebert

A Halifax-born writer and educator, David Huebert’s work has won the CBC Short Story Prize, The Walrus Poetry Prize, and has received two honourable mentions from the National Magazine Awards. David’s fiction debut, Peninsula Sinking, won the Jim Connors Dartmouth Book Award (fiction), was shortlisted for the Alistair MacLeod Short Fiction Prize, and was runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award. His poetry debut, We Are No Longer The Smart Kids In Class, appeared in 2015. David’s poems and stories have been published in magazines such as The Walrus, The New Quarterly, and Canadian Notes & Queries. His chapbook, Full Mondegreens (with Andy Verboom) won the Frog Hollow Chapbook contest in 2016. In 2018, David completed his PhD at Western University, where his research focused on human-animal love in American literature. In fall 2020, he will publish his second book of poems, Humanimus, with Palimpsest. David lives in K’jipuktuk (Halifax) where he teaches and writes.

Jo Treggiari

Jo Treggiari was born in London, England, and raised in Canada. She spent many years in Oakland, California and New York, where she trained as a boxer, wrote for a punk magazine, and owned a gangster rap/indie rock record label. Her novel Ashes, Ashes, a YA post-apocalyptic adventure published by Scholastic Press, was a multiple award nominee and bestseller. Her acclaimed novella Love You Like Suicide, appeared in the Fierce Ink Press anthology Becoming Fierce: Teen Stories IRL and as a limited edition of the long-running zine Cometbus. Her most recent YA novels are Blood Will Out, a psych-thriller, published by Penguin Teen (2018), and a second thriller, The Grey Sisters, (Penguin Teen 2019) which was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary award and was shortlisted for an Arthur Ellis award.

Emma FitzGerald

Emma FitzGerald was born in Southern Africa to Irish parents and grew up in Vancouver. She has studied both art and architecture, and is the author of Hand Drawn Halifax. She lives and draws in North End Halifax.

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